Sharif’s foreign policy short on vision: Daily

Islamabad: Nawaz Sharif government’s foreign policy priorities are “short on vision”, said a leading Pakistani daily today.

An editorial in the Dawn said that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s initial despatch to Pakistani diplomatic missions mapping out his government’s foreign policy priorities is “a document shorn of ambition and short on vision”.

Sharif said that his focus will be on economic diplomacy and on stabilising the region on the security front – “with a few words, platitudes really, thrown in about relations with the usual countries foreign policy tends to focus on”.

The daily wondered what the world sees when it looks at Pakistan.

“…When the world looks at Pakistan, it tends to see a security threat emanating from this soil. China looks to some investment opportunities but always returns to the issue of Islamists traipsing up the Karakoram Highway and into western China…Afghanistan sees a role for Pakistan in the Afghan reconciliation process – largely because it’s tied to its fundamental complaint of Afghan Taliban sanctuaries on this side of the border.

“India, the central focus of the security state here, worries about another Mumbai, in addition to the original rivalry over Kashmir. The US worries about another 9/11, this time traced back to our tribal areas…Russia worries about Islamist ingress into its zone of influence in Central Asia. The list goes on,” it added.

It went on to say that Pakistan has “a perception, reality and credibility problem: we have yet to convince the world that we are not a threat to ourselves and it”.

“Until that changes, it will taint every aspect of Pakistan’s foreign policy. While Pakistanis fret over external violations of our sovereignty by external actors, the outside world wonders why we are unable to take on the threat within and re-establish the state’s writ,” the daily stressed.

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